News / Middle East

Egyptian Satirist Faces New Legal Action From Army-Backed Government

Egyptians watch the first episode of a show by Egypt's most prominent television satirist, Bassem Youssef, called
Egyptians watch the first episode of a show by Egypt's most prominent television satirist, Bassem Youssef, called "Al-Bernameg" (The Programme) in Cairo, Oct. 25, 2013.
Reuters
A comedian who outraged Egypt's now deposed Islamist rulers with his satirical TV show is to be investigated by the current army-backed government, a state-run newspaper reported on Monday.
 
Bassem Youssef, often called Egypt's answer to U.S. satirist Jon Stewart, returned to the airwaves on Friday for the first time since the army ousted Mohamed Morsi, the Islamist president he used to lampoon in jokes and song-and-dance routines.
 
Youssef turned his comic jibes on the new government, joking about the popularity of army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and implying that no one had heard of interim President Adly Mansour.
 
The program was enough for public prosecutor Hisham Barakat to launch an investigation, after a viewer complained that it had harmed the public interest and risked creating chaos in the country, Al-Ahram newspaper reported.
 
Youssef, who was arrested under Morsi's government and appeared in court on charges - later dropped - of insulting the president and Islam, carefully poked fun at various political camps in Friday's broadcast, but stopped short of an outright assault on Sisi, whose image adorns posters across Cairo.
 
His arrest under Morsi was criticized by liberals who said the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak was going back toward autocratic rule.
 
With a new military-backed government in place, activists say similar assaults on press freedom and on other civil liberties like the right to protest, seem all too likely.
 
“I am not with the [Islamists], who attacked us and called us heretics ... and publicly called for our imprisonment,” Youssef said on his Friday show.
 
“At the same time, I am not with hypocrisy, deification of individuals and creation of pharaohs,” Youssef said. “We are afraid that fascism in the name of religion gets replaced with fascism in the name of nationalism.”
 
Morsi's ouster on July 3 was followed by the worst violence in Egypt's modern history, including the violent clearing of Muslim Brotherhood protest camps in which hundreds of the group's supporters were killed.
 
Thousands more, including the movement's leadership, have been arrested.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More